Old Jan 26, 2011, 1:55 AM
Leroy721 Leroy721 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
Thumbs down A good short story.

I am attempting to purchase a new travel ticket on American Airlines.

Background information:
I had a flight scheduled on January 14, 2011 per record locator E****** and was unable to make the flight. In my past experience if I miss a flight I have been able to apply some of the amount paid for that missed ticket, less, of course, a change or cancellation fee.

So I called your worldwide reservations hotline for english speaking callers at 800-433-7300, and after spending 5 minutes arguing with your self-service voice recognition agent that didn't actually understand the english I was spitting out, I got connected to a ticket/reservation agent named Amy. (call sign D-A-I). I explained to Amy what I was trying to accomplish and attempted to give her the record locator from January 14 (see above). She informed me that she needed a ticket number, not a record locator. I informed her that I did not have a ticket number. She told me that they start with a "001," I repeated that all I have is a record locator. She recommended that I go to refunds.aa.com and fill out your refund request form with my last name and "PNR Code" so I could get my ticket number for her. PNR Code? What's a PNR code? I don't have that either. Oh wait, it's the same thing as a record locator. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Amy.

Ok, so refunds.aa.com tells me that "No tickets were found that match the entered search criteria." Fooled by the robots once again!

I politely asked Amy if she can hang on for a second while I try and dig the itinerary out of my email account. She was very patient and supportive of me while I logged into GMAIL looked for the itinerary -- clearly she's a seasoned customer service professional.

SUCCESS! I found a ticket number (starting with 001) and relayed the digits to Amy. { Insert stereotypical scene of ticketing agent typing furiously a keyboard for at least 30 seconds while I sit by in awkward silence. }

Amy: "Hmmm, Dustin?"
Dustin: "Yes, Amy" (we've already met, I wanted to say.)
Amy: "Yah you're in a no-go status here."
Dustin: "A what, huh?"
Amy: "A NO - GO Status.. this ticket number you gave me..."
Dustin: "The one starting with 001?"
Amy: "...Yes, that one, it's in showing a no - go status. When you don't show up for a flight and don't let us know you automatically go into a no-go status."

At this point in the conversation I kind of stopped paying attention because I assumed Amy was just talking/thinking out loud and wrapping her head around the situation. I thought I had pretty well set the scene at the beginning of our call that I 1) hadn't shown up for a flight and was 2) trying to apply that unused ticket (less change or cancellation fees) towards a new ticket. Boy was I wrong -- apparently "no-go" status is airline lingo for "thank you for (not) flying with us, mr. customer. we (don't) appreciate your business, and you are 100% out of luck on this one."

Amy suddenly assumed a dominant role in the conversation. I'm not sure if it was intentional on her part or just some weird subconscious flight attendant / ticketing agent fantasy that I have in my own head, but I digress.

Amy: "You're supposed to call us and let us know when you're not going to make a flight."
Dustin: "Well I wasn't planning on not making the flight, I just didn't make the flight in time."
Amy: "We were worried sick about you and you didn't even have the decency to let us know you weren't going to make it." **
** ok, she didn't really say that but it felt like that's where the conversation was headed. **
Dustin: "Amy, I've never notified an airline when I was going to be missing a flight... I didn't even think to go online and try and cancel the ticket."
Amy: "Well you could've called."
Dustin: "Oh."

-- awkward silence moment #2 --

So at this point I'm really stumped. I'm trying to think of a way to get this conversation back on track. Part of me expected Amy to start laughing and a hidden camera to fall out of the ceiling above my desk and Gerard Arpey (he's your CEO if you didn't know) to come walking around the corner in a 12 gallon cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots to tell me I had just been a part of a customer service experiment and to smile because everything was going to be alright and that in fact Amy was just kidding and that I could pay the $150 change/cancelation fee that I've had to pay 10 times before when I miss a flight and try and apply that ticket towards the purchase of a new one. Amy never laughed. Gerard never came.

So, here I am, typing this whole thing into a customer service form on aa.com because apparently there aren't real customer service agents for me to talk to, at least according to AGENT DAI (see above). DAI was real helpful navigating me to the customer service form and thought that maybe someone on the other end (is it a robot?) might be able to help me out. I asked her which form to use and what "nature of email" and "email subject" options I should choose to get my message to the right person. She really clammed up then and trailed off mumbling something about "not really having the form in front of her right now.... " OK DAI. Thanks for nothing.

I am really shocked away by a couple of things that happened in the short time Amy and I spent together on the phone.

1) Since when do you require such specific and singular information to access a flight itinerary? In the past I know I've used any and all combinations of my Last name, D.O.B. (Date of Birth), Credit Card Number, Date of purchase, City of Origin, Shoe size, favorite actor, song, etc.

2) During what part of the training program do you encourage agents to talk to customers (civilians?) with airline lingo. Please stop. Am I able to call your automated phone agent and say "I'm wondering if this PNR code has a no-go status?"

3) I can understand transferring from agent to agent, long hold times even "accidental" hang ups that force me to call back in and start the whole process over, but referring me to a Customer Service Department that is really just an email form so "maybe someone" can help. Really?

I'd expect something like this from United, but really American? You can do better than this.
Old Jan 26, 2011, 9:28 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Yeah, Dustin.. if you have a date and don't turn up, don't you know it's rude not to call? In future, you should call and send flowers. Didn't your mother teach you manners?
Old Jan 27, 2011, 10:56 AM
bilingual bilingual is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 84

This is your own fault, taken from the website of AA:

Q: I have a nonrefundable American Airlines ticket that I am not going to use. Can I use it toward the purchase of a new ticket?
A: Subject to certain restrictions and charges defined in the rules of the fare, the value of a wholly unused nonrefundable ticket may be used toward the purchase of a new ticket. Travel on such reissued tickets (or subsequently reissued tickets) must commence no later than one year from the date of issue of the original ticket.

For partially used tickets the residual value may be used toward the purchase of a new ticket. The residual value will be the difference between the fare paid and the fare for the transportation actually used as determined by the applicable rules less any charges or penalties defined in the rules of the fare that was purchased. All travel on such reissued tickets (or subsequently reissued tickets) must be completed no more than one year from the first date of travel on the original ticket or sooner if required by the tickets' fare rules.

However, the itinerary for any unused or partially used nonrefundable ticket must be canceled before the ticketed departure time of the first unused coupon, or the ticket will lose any remaining value and cannot be used for travel or reissue.

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